Thirty-six Airmen from across the Iowa Air National Guard participated in the Northwest Arkansas Wellness Innovative Readiness Training mission that took place in Yellville, Arkansas, Jul. 9-19. No-cost medical, dental, optometry, behavioral health, and veterinary services were provided to over 1500 patients.
Those Iowa ANG members were part of the 180 total service members consisting of the Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve, active-duty Air Force, Army Reserve, and active-duty Navy have been in Arkansas since early July preparing for the IRT mission.
The planning for this IRT began in December 2022 and involved scouting various sites in the region to see where they would best be able to support the local community as well as provide accommodation and meals for the service members.
132d Medical Group Chief Nurse Maj. Maddie Hagen was a pivotal part of the initial planning. Having worked with the 185th Medical Group on missions to Kosovo for the state partnership program, Hagen and the 132d Medical Group built a strong relationship with their brother unit.
When the 132d Wing came on board to support the IRT planning, they invited the 185th to join, and once again the two units were together supporting a mission outside the bounds of the Hawkeye State.
“We come together seamlessly and that’s something I love about our relationship,” Hagen said.
Staff Sgt. Skylar Casson, non-commissioned officer in charge of the Northwest Arkansas Wellness IRT, originally was involved just to cover the planning meetings. As positions were being assigned, she was encouraged by her peers from the 132d Wing to fulfill her role as the mission NCOIC.
The first experience Casson received in working with the 132d Wing was when she deployed to New Jersey in support of Operation Allies Welcome. Then she worked specifically with the 132d Medical Group on a mission trip to Kosovo, before taking her role as mission NCOIC with the IRT.
The DoD has been executing IRT missions for 25 years and so that process isn’t anything new, but each mission is different. Casson explained that having the background knowledge of her 185th Air Refueling Wing members and 132d Wing members set her up for success as the mission NCOIC.
“We all got along and worked well together,” Casson said. “You get to know them, how hard they work, and what their strong suits are.”
While the IRT program exists to provide training, the priority for the service members will always be to provide the highest level of care possible for those that seek it.
This is the second IRT mission for Master Sgt. Perla Solis, and she did just that.
As an Aerospace Medical Service specialist with the 185th ARW, Solis assists the community in assessing vitals, checking to make sure nothing is unusual, preparing them to be seen by the provider, and educating the patient on the resources they have available through the IRT.
Solis is also doing a clinical rotation at Baxter Regional in the ICU and ER, a first of its kind for an IRT medical mission.
When it comes to working in a joint military environment Solis is very comfortable.
“It’s great to see how other service branches and components work and how we can all come together for the same mission and accomplish all our goals,” Solis said.
This is the first IRT for Tech. Sgt. Paul Murillo, an Aerospace Medical Service with the 132d Wing. While working at the IRT clinic, he checked patients’ vital signs, charted medical history, and took them to different sections in the triage.
Murillo served seven years with the 185th ARW before transferring to the 132d Wing more than two years ago.
Working at both wings was something Murillo found beneficial based on the trust of his teammates and knowledge of everyone’s abilities.
“Having the 132d Wing and 185th ARW come together for this mission is so beneficial, it’s quite something to be able to have two units from the same state come together to serve another community,” Murillo said.
This mission and the training provided is one that Murillo hopes continues.
“It’s been a pleasure working for the 185th ARW and hopefully we have more opportunities like this in the future,” Murillo said.
|Date Posted:||07.20.2023 19:14|
|Location:||MOUNTAIN HOME, AR, US|
This work, Help from the Hawkeye State: 132d WG and 185th ARW Support IRT, by 1st Lt. Matthew Doyle, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.